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Retail Business Management Guides

A retail consultant was asked, "What are the three factors most likely to ensure retailing success?" The reply was, "(1) Retail Locations, (2) Retail Locations, and (3) Retail location." In other words, the impact of retail store locations and choosing retail location on the success of your store operation can't be overstressed! in this section you will learn how to find the best retail location and other topics that are crucial to success in the field of retail business management.


Is there a small-business owner who has never considered selling his business? Probably not. Is there an individual with some money, talent, or an urge for independence (often only the last) who hasn't thought about owning his own business?

In making your business plan, the first question to consider is: What business am I really in? At first reading, this question may seem silly. "If there is one thing I know," you say to yourself, "it is what business I'm in." Hold on and think. Some owner-managers have gone broke and others have wasted their savings because they did not define their businesses in detail. Actually they were confused about what business they were in.

Look at an example. Mr. Jet maintained a dock and sold and rented boats. He thought he was in the marina business. But when he got into trouble and asked for outside help, he learned that he was not necessarily in the marina business. He was in several businesses. He was in the restaurant business with a dockside cafe, serving meals to boating parties. He was in the real estate business, buying and selling lots. He was in boat repair business, buying parts and hiring a mechanic as demand rose. Mr. Jet was trying to be too many things and couldn't decide which venture to put money into and how much return to expect. What slim resources he had were fragmented.

Before he could make a profit on his sales and a return on his investment, Mr. Jet had to decide what business he really was in and concentrate on it. After much study, he realized that he should stick to the marina format, buying, selling, and servicing boats.

Decide what business you are in and write it down - define your business.
To help you decide, think of answers to questions like: What do you buy? What do you sell? Which of your lines of goods yields the greatest profit? What do people ask you for? What is it that you are trying to do better or more of or differently from your competitors? Write it down in detail.



When you have decided what business you are in, you are ready to consider another important part of your business plan. Marketing. Successful marketing starts with the owner-manager. You have to know the merchandise you sell and the wishes and wants of your customers you can appeal to. The objective is to move the stock off the shelves and display racks at the right price and bring in sales dollars.

The text and suggested working papers that follow are designed to help you work out a marketing plan for your store.

Determining the Sales Potential

In retail business, your sales potential depends on location. Like a tree, a store has to draw its nourishment from the area around it. The following questions should help you work through the problem of selecting a profitable location.

  • In what part of the city or town will you locate?

  • In the downtown business section?

  • In the area right next to the downtown business area?

  • In a residential section of the town?

  • On the highway outside of town?

  • In the suburbs?

  • In a suburban shopping center?


On a worksheet, write where you plan to locate and give your reasons why you chose that particular location.

Now consider these questions that will help you narrow down a place in your location area.

  • What is the competition in the area you have picked?

  • How many of the stores look prosperous?

  • How many look as though they are barely getting by?

  • How many similar stores went out of business in this area last year?

  • How many new stores opened up in the last year?

  • What price line does competition carry?

  • Which store or stores in the area will be your biggest competitors?

Again, write down the reasons for your opinions. Also write out an analysis of the area's economic base and give the reason for your opinion. Is the area in which you plan to locate supported by a strong economic base? For example, are nearby industries working full time? Only part time? Did any industries go out of business in the past several months? Are new industries scheduled to open in the next several months?

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